Evita is a grand production worthy of Oscar consideration
I've never seen a movie quite like Evita before. I've seen some musicals, but they usually aren't as elaborate and grand as this one is. Evita is more or less an opera-type movie where most of the dialogue is sung instead of spoken. Does this make it better than if it had been spoken out? Probably, because the music provides a mood to every scene, and it makes you feel happy when you're supposed to feel happy, and sad when you're supposed to feel sad. Never have I cried as much during a movie as I did during Evita.
I talked to a friend who works at a movie theater showing Evita, and he said that they have never had so many walk-outs during a movie. If I ever met someone that walked out of that movie, I would want to know why they left -- particularly because the final thirty minutes of the movie are the most heart wrenching and beautiful moments in the movie. The songs are beautifully written and performed, and Madonna has proven herself a wonderful actress. Finally, she has gotten a role that seemed made for her. And though I don't think she will win the Oscar for Best Actress, her performance should get nominated.
Evita is about the life of Eva Perón, the First Lady of Argentina. Her father died when she was really young and she wasn't allowed to see her father because she was a bastard child. When she became a teenager, she decided to go to Buenos Aires to become an actress. She pretty much slept her way to the top, dumping guys and meeting other men in order to benefit her career. She rises through to stardom, and because she has the right friends, she meets Juan Perón. He runs for President of Argentina and wins because his campaign is to help the middle and lower classes. Eva (Madonna) gains a lot of power because of this, and works to benefit the unfortunate classes, mainly because she started out in a middle class and she hated it.
The movie jumps back and forth from past to present for the first fifteen minutes, but once you get past that, the movie really gets good. I'm not saying it isn't good for the first few minutes of the movie, but it's hard to follow. The movie is actually pretty hard to follow anyway, because the entire movie is sung and sometimes it's hard to understand what they are saying. But that's not important -- what is important is the feeling and emotion that is put out by the music. My favorite song is "You Must Love Me" which was specially written for this movie (Evita was based on a musical). The lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber are the real star of the movie. Madonna, who needed voice lessons in order to reach the range required for the music, is perfect for the role. For me, Madonna has never sounded better than in Evita.
One big surprise of the movie is Antonio Banderas as Chè. I was shocked at how well he sung and held his own with Madonna. All the actors work well together, even Jonathan Pryce as Juan Perón, who usually is a comedic actor. Even he had a good voice. The director Alan Parker must have had a lot of Tylenol for this movie, because a tremendous amount of work went into this movie. He had to work with 600 crew members and over 40,000 extras. To get them all to sing the same lyrics and do everything right must have put a ton of pressure on Parker. But he did it and produced a terrific movie with Oscar nominations written all over it. And it has to have the award for Best Original Song for "You Must Love Me."
Evita is rated PG. There is only some mild violence and some mild language, but other than that it's okay for everyone. I'm not sure kids under 15 would like it, but they might like the music. For Madonna, this movie proves a mark in her history that shows that she can act, and she doesn't have to be show off her body to get attention. Madonna has gotten a lot of attention and respect from me, someone who usually doesn't like Madonna because of her lifestyle. For some reason, while watching Evita, I kept seeing the similarities between Eva Perón's life and Madonna's. She even said herself that she was the best actress to play the part. And she was right.
**** out of ****
Reviews by Boyd Petrie